News24, the Daily Maverick's Scorpio and amaBhungane have scooped the global gong for investigative journalism when the team was announced as a co-winner of the Global Shining Light award of the Global Investigative Journalism Network, the world's most prestigious investigative journalism award.
Announced in Hamburg, Germany on Saturday, the team won for #GuptaLeaks, the story of how the patronage network run by the family engineered the system of state capture.
Rappler, the renowned media platform from the Philippines was a co-winner with the South African team for its work on extrajudicial killings under the regime of Filipino strongman Rodrigo Duterte.
The win was announced before an audience of 1 800 of the world's leading investigative journalists. The prize honours investigative journalism conducted in developing or transitioning countries, done under threat, duress, or in the direst of conditions.
The awards drew from a record 291 entries from around the world that were published or broadcast between in 2017 and 2018.
The small outlets category for teams of under 10 people was won by Peru's IDL-Reporteros for Lava Jato/Lava Juez, (Car Wash and White Collars) the two sets of stories in Brazil and Peru which exposed systemic corruption in government and in the judiciary. Kenya's Africa Uncensored team won for a documentary series called The Profiteers about how Sudan's elite plundered their country.
"The judges were impressed with the tenacity, courage, skill, and integrity demonstrated by this year's winners of the Global Shining Light Award," said Sheila Coronel, Academic Affairs Dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
The #GuptaLeaks series is recognised as having turned the tide on state capture in South Africa and is one of the foundation stones of the installation of the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.
"This is incredible recognition for our joint project that exposed the dark underbelly of the Zuma regime's state capture project," said News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson.
"This award comes at a time when journalism is under threat from fake news peddlers, manufactured social media narratives and great revenue challenges. It reaffirms the value and importance of good, dogged journalism that shines a light on secrets and lies."